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Side events and Excursions

Events, Dinners and Excursions

We have curated for the participants of the World Congress of Environmental History 2024 a set of compelling special events, excursions and dinner options taking place in the city of Oulu and in the nearby countryside. Each of the excursions will be led and accompanied by a scholar from the University of Oulu who will share their expertise with participants to make the trips a unique, enjoyable and intellectually engaging experience. Please note that access to these events and excursions is not included in the conference fee but tickets to most of these events have a separate fee.

NOTE! The minimum numbers of participants for each excursion is listed in the event descriptions. If sign-up for the excursion does not reach this minimum number, the trip will have to be cancelled. In this case, all registered participants will be notified ahead of time and any paid fees will be fully refunded. All other refunds will be dealt with on a case by case basis, please email if you require a refund.

Sunday, August 18: A most haunted environment: walking through the spectral landscapes of Oulu


A most haunted environment: walking through the spectral landscapes of Oulu

Oulu is a haunted city with a ghost (story) on almost every corner and Oulu has sometimes been playfully described as the ghost capital in Finland. To be sure, Oulu does not look like your typical haunted city: the urban landscape is dominated by modern post-war concrete buildings. On the other hand, Oulu is a historical city, dating back to 1605, and it been a regional centre through the centuries, ‘the capital of northern Finland’. This walk takes us to various allegedly haunted places in and around the city centre with the aim of providing glimpses to the history of Oulu and what ghosts could be taken to ‘mean’ in this particular urban environment. For some time, scholars in various disciplines have engaged with ghosts and hauntings as theoretical tools for grasping a multitude of topics pertaining to, for instance, the relationship between the past and present, histories of injustice and trauma, remembering and forgetting, and absence and presence. It is against this background that we engage ghosts and haunted places in this walk. The tour takes about 3 hours and takes place in the city centre and its immediate surroundings. An estimated 3,5 km of walking is involved on asphalt and gravel footpaths. Your tour guides are Prof Vesa-Pekka Herva and Dr Tuuli Matila, who have studied spectral landscapes of Oulu and northern Finland.

Begins: 16:30 in front of Elokuvateatteri Star (Kalliotie 6, 90500 Oulu, Finland)
Hosts: Vesa-Pekka Herva and Tuuli Matila
Price: Free
Maximum number of participants: 20

Time and Location:
Sunday, August 18
Kalliotie 6, 90500 Oulu, Finland

Ghost in Spooky Woods


Sunday, August 18: Golden Flower Jazz Affair: A Culinary and Musical Experience


Golden Flower Jazz Affair: A Culinary and Musical Experience

As esteemed guests of the "WCEH 2024" conference, we invite you to join us for a special Live Jazz night at Golden Flower Oulu Restaurant and Lounge. Indulge in tantalizing dishes, savour delicious drinks, and immerse yourself in live music as we ignite the energy needed for a successful conference week. Come and create unforgettable memories at this exclusive event. Secure your reservation at the event as soon as possible, as seating is limited. Please note that this will be a private event, ensuring an intimate and refined experience for all in attendance.

Please inform us of any dietary restrictions or allergies when making your reservation!

Recommended dress code: Dress in attire that exudes sophistication and charm, mirroring the timeless allure of jazz music. Embrace a style that effortlessly combines elegance with a relaxed and refined flair, setting the perfect tone for an unforgettable night of music and camaraderie. We look forward to basking in your chic interpretation of this dress code as we celebrate in style together.

Ticket price: 60€

The ticket price grants you entry to the special Live Jazz night at Golden Flower Oulu Restaurant and Lounge, complete with a tapas-styled surprise menu and a 2-3 drink package (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) of your choice.

Minimum number of participants: 40

Time and Location:
Sunday, August 18
Kirkkokatu 16, 90100 Oulu, 3. floor

Golden Flower Resturant image

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Tuesday, August 20: Evening Dinner Events


Dinner at Maikkula Estate

The Maikkula Estate is a fin-de-siècle mansion with large courtyards set right on the banks of the Oulu River. The mansion’s buildings consist of the Manor House, a large renovated barn, and various saunas—from traditional smoke sauna to wood-heated and electric saunas. All meals in Maikkula Estate are prepared on spot using mainly locally produced ingredients such as fish from the nearby lakes and local sea fishermen, reindeer from the traditional reindeer farms, willow ptarmigan from Utsjoki in Lapland, and lamb that is grown in the pastures around the estate.

The dinner is a three-course menu. Menu choice and information on allergies should be provided when registering for the dinner.

The menu options are:

Menu 1: Lampuoti (“leaseholder”)

Starter: Rainbow trout smoked in Maikkula Manor’s own kitchen, lemon marinated fennel, scallop cream and the Finnish Archipelago Bread baked in our own kitchen
Main: Reindeer sirloin, red wine sauce, fried almond potato, and asparagus
Desert: Parsnip cake, lemon mousse and white chocolate sauce

Menu 2: Aallotar

Starter: Carrot pastrami, avocado cream and puffed buckwheat
Main: Grilled portobello, crispy fried sesame tofu, balsamic herb sauce and chickpea parsnip puree
Desert: Lime pie and fresh berries


Dinner ticket: 90€

The price of the dinner ticket includes bus transportation from Oulu to Maikkula Estate and back, a welcome drink, and the selected dinner menu. Additional beverages can be purchased from the bar.

Minimum number of participants: 30

Time and Location:
Tuesday, August 20
Maikkulanrinne 21, 90240 Oulu

Maikkula Estate Image

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Zestii Arctic Flavours Dinner

This special dinner will be prepared by Oulu foodie startup Zestii ( using Arctic Food Lab suppliers to provide ingredients for a meal celebrating the abundance of local and seasonal Nordic ingredients. Zestii is a local business focusing on inclusion and sustainable operation, and for this dinner event they will cook up a wonderful opportunity to taste delicacies from local ingredients. The Arctic Food Lab ( is a brand of the Oulu 2026 European City of Culture project, bringing regional food suppliers together to showcase arctic products and local food knowledge and traditions.

What makes this dinner even more unique is the BYOB (bring-your-own bottle) principle applied—rather rare in Finland—allowing dinner guests to bring their own refreshments to be enjoyed along with the food.

Please, choose the main course option and provide the necessary information of possible allergies when registering to the dinner.

The dinner menu:


Mocktail with arctic flavours
Brazilian tapioca and cheese pastries
Crostini with seasonal vegetable toppings


A choice of:
Aubergine stuffed with local, gently spiced, organic lamb
Courgette or squash stuffed with Västerbotten cheese, tomato and topped with pine nut salsa

Served with buttery baked rice with seasonal herbs and a seasonal salad sourced from local farms

Something sweet

Lemon posset (a rich, creamy and elegant dessert served with lingonberry compote and a crisp biscuit)
Tea or coffee served with a hand rolled chocolate truffle

Dinner ticket: 65€

The dinner ticket includes a non-alcoholic welcome drink and the dinner menu with the selected main course.

Minimum number of participants: 55

Time and Location:
Tuesday, August 20
Raatin nuorisotalo, a few minute walk from the square market downtown
Raatintie 7, 90100 Oulu

Arctic Foodlab Dinner

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Tuesday, August 20 & Wednesday, August 21: Sauna evening on a river


Sauna evening on a river

The Koivurannan Saunalautta (Koivuranta sauna ferry) is a local speciality: a floating sauna ferry in the Oulu River with a wood-heated sauna. We have reserved the sauna for two evenings during WCEH for congress delegates to book a 2-hour shift for the sauna and a swim in the river or relaxing moment in a jacuzzi next to the ferry. The guests can also enjoy refreshments and waffles (both sweet and savory) from the ferry bar. Grab your bathing suit (required!) and have the most Finnish experience you can get!

Please note that there is no arranged transportation to the ferry. Buses #2 and #5 operate from both downtown and the University campus to within 1km walking distance from the sauna; bus #9 also runs between the city center and the sauna. Bus tickets can be purchased with a credit card when entering the bus. Conference staff is happy to help and give more information on getting to the ferry and back!

In case of low registration numbers, we may need to modify the number of sauna shifts. In this case, registered participants will be informed and given the opportunity for a refund.


Ticket price: 25€

Ticket price includes a 2-hour shift for sauna in the chosen slot and a towel. Food (e.g. reindeer waffles!) and drinks (including wine and beer) are available for sale at the sauna bar.

Minimum number of participants: 50

Time and Location:
Tuesday, August 20 & Wednesday, August 21
Slots on both days: 16:00-18:00, 18:00-20:00, 20:00-22:00, 22:00-00:00
Kasarmintie 31, 90230 Oulu

Koivurannan Saunalautta image

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Wednesday, August 21: Church boat rowing excursion


Church boat rowing excursion

Join us for an unforgettable outdoor learning journey steeped in local history while rowing a traditional Finnish Church boat. For a breath of fresh air and a taste of traditional Finland, we will all hop into a wooden rowboat of 12 metres long, with up to 16 rowers each wielding a single oar, along with a skilled cox to steer the vessel. We will navigate the River Oulu while learning about local history from when the city was a Nordic tar and sawmill capital. NB; you must have personal travel insurance in order to participate in this tour.

Date: Wednesday, August 21st, 2024 at time 10-11.30
Time: 90 mins
Meeting place: Nokkalan venevalkama, Hintantie, 90500 Oulu (see: google map)
Cost/person: 10 €
Instructor/Leader: Outdoor educator, EdD Seppo Karppinen

Time and Location:
Wednesday, August 21
Nokkalan venevalkama, Hintantie, 90500 Oulu

Rowing on the Oulu river

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Wednesday, August 21: Morning Excursions


Poro Panuma reindeer farm

Reindeer are to Lapland what coal is to Newcastle. We will take a trip to a local reindeer farm, located about one hour outside of Oulu, to meet local reindeer herders and get to know some of their reindeer. The trip is accompanied by an Oulu University researcher specialized in historical and contemporary reindeer domestication and human-reindeer interaction. The host, Mathilde van den Berg, has carried out her doctoral research among reindeer herders in Finland on the topic of castration, osteogenesis and more-than-human care, and has collaborated closely with the Poropanuma family of herders for this research. The visit includes return bus transportation from Oulu, a visit among the reindeer with a presentation of local ways of life and husbandry practices, and a local meal prepared at the farm from local ingredients (there is a choice of reindeer or vegetarian dish).

Excursion price: 100€

The price includes bus transportation from the city center of Oulu to the reindeer farm and back to the downtown or to the university campus, a several-hour visit at the farm, and a lunch. There is a reindeer and vegetarian option available, please choose one when registering. The vegetarian option is also suitable for vegans. Gluten-free bread is also available on demand (please, inform of this when registering), but availability of other dietary restrictions (e.g. foodmap) cannot be guaranteed.

Minimum number of participants per group: 30

Host: Mathilde van den Berg

In case the trip does not meet the minimum number of participants, excursion groups/times might be combined to meet the necessary number. In this case, concerned participants will be informed in advance and given a chance for a refund if desired.

Time and Location:
Wednesday, August 21
Slots: 8:30-11:00, 11:00-13:30
Laasenraitti 40, 93140 Kipinä

Poro Panuma reindeer farm image

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An engaged walk through Oulu's socio-environmental history

This guided walk takes participants on a historically minded social and ecological tour of Oulu through its various urban and peri-urban landscapes. We meet in the city centre, and then walk across a long pedestrian and cycling bridge towards the idyllic wooden district of Pikisaari, known for its post-industrial community of artists and artisans and sonorous bird species. From here, we pass through the burgeoning Toppilansalmi district and onto the green island of Hietasaari, peppered with fin-de-siècle wooden villas and gardens, and memorable flora and fauna. One geographically fascinating aspect about Oulu region is that the ground here is nary a few hundred years old, and is currently rising about 1cm per year. This phenomenon of land uplift is well known along the coasts of the Gulf of Bothnia, where over the past centuries new land has appeared out of the sea and many older harbours have become unusable. We end up at Nallikari beach, one of the Baltic Sea's best swimming spots on account of its gorgeous stretch of golden, windswept sands. On the walk we will encounter: haunted houses, industrial ruins, parklands, beautiful (and ecologically interesting) native and invasive plant and animal species, curious graffiti, urban redevelopment spaces, and Oulu's growing harbor area—and the human and non-human traces it holds. We will discuss these spectres and species of Oulu past and present, and learn how they are entangled with the city's contemporary landscapes and cultural identities.

Begins: 9:00 in front of Oulu Cathedral, Kirkkokatu 3
Ends: 12:00 in Nallikari
Note: As the walk will be approximately 5km long mostly on pavement to accessible places, please bring comfortable walking shoes.
Hosts: Marko Mutanen, Vesa-Pekka Herva
Price: Free

Maximum number of participants: 20

Time and Location:
Wednesday, August 21
Kirkkokatu 3A, 90100 Oulu

Pikisaari in Oulu with bike riders



A visit to the local historical site of the Aalto Silo

This excursion leads a small group of conference delegates to see one of Oulu’s most intriguing landmarks: a concrete silo designed by renowned Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, set in the leafy Oulu neighbourhood of Meri-Toppila. Originally built in 1931, the silo belonged to the Toppila Cellulose Factory, where it was used as a site for cellulose production and storage. Since the closure of the factory in 1985, this 28-metre high building has stood unused as a demonstration of people’s faith in infinite natural resources and their exploitation. In 2020 the silo was bought by The Factum Foundation for Digital Technology in Preservation. The Aalto Siilo project has turned the old silo into a multi-media performance and exhibition space, and a research laboratory. The renovation effort design plans were made by Skene Catling de la Peña studio in London. The visit to Silo will be led by architect Valentino Tignanelli, the manager and designer of the Aalto Siilo project.

Travel to the Aalto Siilo will be on public bus transportation, and accompanied by four Oulu University scholars: Silja Heikkinen, Marjo Juola, Esa Ruuskanen, and Anatolijs Venovcevs. Bus tickets are available for purchase on board with credit card. The group will meet in downtown Oulu at 10:15 in front of the small stage (“Rotuaari”) adjacent to the Sokos Hotel Arina. After the visit, guests will be accompanied to the university where they have time to eat a self-paid lunch in some of the university restaurants.

Date: Wednesday, August 21, 10:15 – 13:00
Price: Free (except for the bus tickets bought from the driver costing a couple of euros/ride)
Hosts: Silja Heikkinen, Marjo Juola, Esa Ruuskanen, and Anatolijs Venovcevs

Max participants: 30

Time and Location:
Wednesday, August 21
Pakkahuoneenkatu 16, 90100 Oulu

Aalto Silo image

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Wednesday, August 21: Whiskey and Chocolate Tasting


Whiskey and Chocolate Tasting

Whisky and chocolate. Really, what more do you need to know? This informational and entertaining evening pairs flavours of Finnish whiskies with hand-made chocolate from the Oulu-based chocolaterie ChocoSomnia.

The event is hosted by Jarkko Nikkanen, aptly dubbed 'Mr. Whisky of Finland', he is currently the whisky ambassador in Finland who has authored 10 whiskey-related books and hosted over 2000 whisky tastings over the past 20 years. It will be accompanied by our very own local chocolatier from ChocoSomnia. The tasting is held at the Rooster Café-Pub in downtown Oulu.

Ticket price: 65€

The price includes 5 thoughtfully curated pairings of distinct and distinguished Finnish-distilled whiskeys with a delectable selection of hand-made chocolates.

Time and Location:
Wednesday, August 21
Torikatu 26, 90100 Oulu

Jarkko Nikkanen image

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Saturday, August 24: Post-congress tour


Paying Attention to Mushrooms in Sanginjoki Park

This tour will explore ways of looking at places with mushroom perspectives in mind. It will take place at the Liimanninkoski rapids (, 40 kilometres outside Oulu in the historic Muhos valley. The grove sits within the Muhos geological formation – a formation of deep, uniform sand into which the Muhos River has carved a deep valley over time. The valley creates a unique and lush microclimate for flora and funga to thrive. Meanwhile, the sheep meadow above the valley floor exhibits a historic meadow ecosystem with traditional farm buildings. There is also a tar pit at the corner of the nature area, highlighting the region’s historic use for tar production. Given its unique significance, Liimanninkoski has been a protected site since 1992 and a popular destination for families and researchers. This excursion will explore the area through a fungal perspective, showing how the area’s unique social, geological, and ecological histories interconnect through the perspective of mushrooms as key informants.

The price of the tour ticket includes transportation to and from Liinmanninkoski, a mushroom walk, and a lunch that will be prepared at a firepit at the rapids. Participants are encouraged to bring water, bug spray, and snacks, if desired. Please be prepared and dressed for wet and muddy ground in some places — as well as the potential for inclement weather.

Departure from Oulu: 10:00
Lunch in Sanginjoki: 12:00
Return to Oulu: 16:00
Excursion price: 35€

Maximum number of participants: 14

Host: Anatolijs Venovcevs

The price of the tour ticket includes transportation to Sanginjoki Nature Reserve, a mushroom walk led by an archaeologist and two mycologists, and a lunch that will be prepared at a firepit inside Sanginjoki Park.

Time and Location:
Saturday, August 24
Korpiseläntie 2, 90660 Oulu

Mushrooms in Sanginjoki Park

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University of Oulu
Bioverse Anthropocenes